Tonight, the Atlanta Braves organization honored the 1914 World Series Champion Boston "Miracle" Braves, who pulled off one of the greatest 2-month turnarounds in baseball history on their way to the championship. Although the 2014 Braves aren't exactly in the miracle business this season, it is still a fair bit of a surprise that they've managed to take the first 2 games of this series as they beat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 on the night.
For those who were hoping that the Braves' success on offense on Friday night would bleed into Saturday night, the first inning of tonight's game was an extremely pleasant sign as the Braves jumped on Sonny Gray extremely early. After Julio Teheran retired the A's without incident in the top of the 1st, Phil Gosselin got a 1-out single to set the table a bit for Freddie Freeman.
On a 1-1 pitch, Freeman managed to beat the shift by hitting a grounder up the right field line. As a result, it took the A's nearly all day to get the ball and once they did, Goose was flying towards home plate, easily scoring the game's first run. It wouldn't take long for the 2nd run to come, and it came thanks to Chris Johnson poking one to right field, which brought in Freddie from 2nd base. Just like that, the Braves had an early 2-run lead.
In the 4th inning, that lead extended by another run when the toothless wonder Andrelton Simmons cashed in a RBI with runners on 2nd and 3rd. The run could have come earlier, but Justin Upton was persuaded not to go past 3rd on a single from Chris Johnson. That particular situation would pop up again, later.
Meanwhile, Julio Teheran held the A's at bay for most of the night, as he had a successful 6 innings. He only had 1 strikeout over those 6 innings, but he did add Josh Reddick to his pretty long list of pickoffs, way back in the 1st inning. Teheran did give up 2 runs, though, and those runs came on a homer from Stephen Vogt, who continues to establish himself as a pretty good hitter on the Major League level for the A's.
Fortunately, the Braves answered immediately in the very next frame. Remember that "particular situation" from earlier when Justin Upton was given the red light at 3rd on a potential scoring chance off of a hit from Chris Johnson? Well, this time, Johnson put a ball in play with Justin Upton on base again, and this time J-Up got his money's worth. Justin took off from first and didn't stop running until he crossed home for the 4th run of the game for Atlanta.
Oakland had a rare event occur in their favor in te 8th inning: John Jaso hit a homer, and that brought the A's within one. After the Braves failed to add insurance, that meant that it was time for Craig Kimbrel to come in for another high-leverage situation, and he did so with what may have been the first time in baseball history where a guy entered a game with the in-house organist furiously tickling the ivories to the tune of "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses.
Kimbrel had a tiny bit of an adventure in the 9th. Josh Reddick nearly knocked one out of the park, but Justin Upton got under it to make it a really scary first out. After the next batter walked, Kimbrel retired the next 2 batters pretty easily, and just like that, the Braves were celebrating a series victory over the A's.
Now, the Braves will be heading into their 2nd consecutive appearance on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball in a lovely position. Now that they've won the series, they now have a chance to sweep what is suddenly a reeling Oakland A's squad. Once again, I'm going to ask everybody reading this recap to raise your hands if you saw this coming. Again, if you're raising your hand, then you are
really bad at telling the truth a fantastically optimistic person and I envy you.